It was a simple newspaper ad in the Rock River Times that saved four-year-old Angela Rushford's life. She was in need of a kidney, so her mother placed an ad in the classified section. A perfect stranger, who turned out to be a perfect match, replied.
Now the newspaper is trying to save even more lives.
The classified section in the Rock River Times has expanded - an entire column is now designated for organ donations. Those wishing to place an ad for an organ can do so for free.
It was a call Marieka McClendon says she won't soon forget: A desperate mother wanting to place a classified ad requesting a kidney for her daughter. McClendon says she was hesitant at first and never expected such a happy ending.
"I was kind of worried that I'd get in trouble for it because I didn't know if we could take ads like that, but yeah I'm happy," said McClendon.
The Editor and Publisher of the Times, Frank Schier: "The whole office is dancing around going 'We got a little girl a kidney, we got a little girl a kidney.'"
And now the Rock River Times is donating a section of their paper, hoping they can have that kind of celebration all over again.
"We saved a life and we'd like to save some more lives and we'd like to see some other newspapers, TV or radio stations and web sites try to do the same," said Schier.
The paper says the response so far has been tremendous. McClendon has already posted another classified ad for a kidney.
"It made me feel good that I was doing something to help people," McClendon said.
And while you don't want to think that someone would abuse this service, the paper is coming up with some guidelines that must be met to place an ad, such as having a note from a doctor.
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Organ and Tissue Donors
Each day about 63 people receive an organ transplant, but another 16 people on the waiting list die because not enough organs are available.
Talk to your family members about organ and tissue donation so they know your wishes.
Organ Donation Frequently Asked Questions
Who can become a donor
Are there age limits for donors?
How do I express my wishes to become an organ donor?
What can be donated?
Are there any costs to my family for donation?
How are the organ distributed?
Current Waiting List – As of July 19, 2002
Source: http://www.organdonor.gov/ (U.S. Government Organ Donation Web site)